Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

This image, a watercolor by artist Steve Mumfort just brings home the meaning of Memorial Day for me. It pictures a cadre of soldiers who have just heard of the death of a colleague. Of course, scenes of sorrow will radiate outward from the battlefield hospital, to a city or town, to parents, significant others, wives, husbands, grandparents and on out into the community as a whole.
I can't remember where I heard it--it was a remark in passing, perhaps on the radio or on a blog, but someone was thinking of what Memorial Day meant. Noting that it was even hard to get people to go visit the graves of their family members who had passed, many neglected this day of thanks and remembrance for those who gave their lives to help preserve freedom for our country and to protect the innocent in other countries.

If we forget that war = death, and neglect the true meaning of Memorial Day, we might get just a little too casual about the making of war. This may have already happened; with the lack of a draft, a very tiny percentage of people end up serving in the armed forces. Thus we are not touched by the losses of life to the violence of war. The horror of war, even though often transmitted through vivid pictures and video, is distant. It seems like a video game, not something real. No, it is all too real. When people are killed in war, they bleed real blood, have real limbs torn off, and die real deaths--they are not here any more. We must realize that war can be the end of humanity to paraphrase JFK.

Never forgot what it costs to be free. That is what Memorial Day is for, to remind us not to forget.


Bob G. said...

Well said.
And that watercolor is very powerful!

Just because war is not at our doorstep HERE, doesn't mean that those fighting it should be any less remembered.

Excellent post.

Have a great week.

Stay safe out there.

chuck said...

Nice read.

The Observer said...

Bob and chuck:

Thanks for stopping by--like many I had a nice relaxing day but I have to say that I was conscious of what the day commemorated. I felt that I had to try and put both my thankfulness and some measure of the meaning of the day in writing.

I hope you had an enjoyable holiday and that Tuesday wasn't too "Monday" for you!

The Observer